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Questions to Ask and Consider Before Booking: pt 3 – Parking

December 10, 2010

So far in our multi-part series about questions to ask and consider, we’ve discussed the topics of breakfast and check-in. This week, we’d like to take a few minutes to continue to help you become a more proactive and educated bed and breakfast / inn guest by tackling the topic of parking.

This week’s set of tips may not be helpful for those who only travel by air/rail and taxi, we still feel it is an important topic to discuss, as a majority of travelers, at one point or another will travel somewhere with a car.

Below is a set of questions to ask when making a reservation or doing your research about where to stay. Consider the answers you are given to these questions before booking your stay.

Is a car necessary?

There are areas in the country that a car is necessary – places where bed and breakfasts / inns are located in secluded areas away from a main community, or where it just isn’t convenient to walk. There are other areas in the country where a car really isn’t necessary – places where bed and breakfasts / inns are located in the heart of a community, places that are extremely compact (Savannah), or places with excellent public transportation (Chicago, NYC). If you’re flying into your destination, ask the staff at your accommodations if a car is truly necessary. They’ll give you the insight into an area far better than the rental car companies.

A car is not necessary while in Savannah, GA – but it is a nice luxury to have, should you wish to visit Bonaventure Cemetery, Fort Pulaski, Tybee Island, or take a day-trip away from the city. For the guests of the Catherine Ward House, we have created a sample 7-day itinerary of things to do in Savannah – only 1 of the itineraries requires a car. Savannah is a walker’s paradise with plenty to do without moving your car. We frequently have guests who park their cars and never move them until they have to pack their cars to leave Savannah.

Do you have parking spaces for your guests / Where do guest’s park?

This question is primarily important for guests traveling to urban areas or staying in accommodations located in the heart of a community. Parking is always a concern in these areas, and most B&Bs / inns do not have the money to purchase a piece of property strictly for guest parking. Ask your potential accommodation where guests are to park.

The Catherine Ward House Inn is an urban bed and breakfast, located on a residential street in the Victorian District of Savannah, only ½ a block from Forsyth Park. We are fortunate enough to have one dedicated parking space for our inn. We reserve this space for our guests staying in the Sea Trade Room (just one of the many perks of that room). All other guests are able to park, for free, on the street in front of the inn. Our street is fairly quiet, meaning guests rarely struggle to find a parking space. We have also arranged parking privileges in a parking lot across the street from the inn, should our guests ever find the street full. These privileges are complementary to all of our guests.

Is there a parking fee? Why?

Some B&Bs or inns have taken a cue from hotels and are now charging guests with “parking fees” – but without the perks of a valet service. If your accommodations do charge a parking fee, ask “Why.” If you’re staying in an urban area, the parking fee may cover the cost of metered parking/parking permits for street parking. If you do not understand the purpose of the parking fee, ask again why you’re being charged for it.

At the Catherine Ward House Inn, we do not charge any sort of parking fee. We are lucky enough to be located on a street with no meters. Even if you park in the “overflow” lot across from the inn, you will not be charged. We believe these spaces should be complementary, as the street does, from time to time fill up – no need to “punish” those who arrive or return to the inn and find the street full.

A side note about parking in Savannah: Our street does not have meters. Some streets in Savannah do. These meters do not need to be fed after 5 pm on weekdays or on Saturdays and Sundays. Additional information about parking in Savannah can be found in the “Park Smart” Brochure, available at:$FILE/ParkSmart%20Downtown%20Brochure.pdf


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